Irish Heart Foundation – Service Design for Digital Transformation of Patient Support
Service Design | Irish Heart Foundation
Irish Heart Foundation, the national stroke & heart charity, provides vital support to patients and carers all over Ireland who have been affected by cardiovascular disease. These services expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic, transitioning to remote delivery, and are now reaching more and more people.
Beginning in 2022, Context Studio worked with Irish Heart Foundation to build a better understanding of how these services have dealt with this rapid growth. We examined the needs of patients, volunteers and staff to inform the digital transformation and further scaling of these vital patient services. You can read more about that work in our case study here.
We have since continued this work, developing a comprehensive understanding of how current services operate, and designing an optimum future for those services, with teams empowered by digital technology. We did this through system mapping, and the creation of service blueprints which describe the patient journeys anticipated and the requirements for a technology platform to support those journeys.
Our discovery work began with a series of interviews with stakeholders from within the services. These interviews were conducted online using a live whiteboard, where we let the participants talk us through the services they work on as we live-sketched a system map for that service. Throughout this process we retained key insights from our earlier phase, keeping the patient experience at the centre of our work.
Sketching these draft maps with the stakeholders allowed us to identify gaps in our own understanding, but also to validate what we already understood from previous research.
System Mapping & Validation
Following these interviews, and in combination with our earlier research, we created he detailed system maps capturing the full complexity of the services. These were validated with our stakeholders and used as the basis for continuing design work.
These system maps allow us to clearly see how interactions between staff and the service users occur, what tools are used to support these interactions, and how information and data is transferred throughout the service, giving us the ability to identify inefficiencies and other opportunities for improvement.
Service Blueprinting & Technology Specification
Once the current-state system maps were completed we began work on service blueprints, creating one blueprint for each service to illustrate the vision for how the services would operate in the future.
During the process of developing these blueprints we met our participating stakeholders to review and further refine them on two occasions. While it was important to get this validation, it is also important to remember service blueprints will never be 100% accurate as service offerings will evolve, and available technologies might differ come implementation. They remain working documents.
These blueprints are intended for a wide audience and should help leadership, management, support services, technology vendors and others to better understand the services. It was also important that our representation of this future was balanced between what best works for teams and patients, and what’s feasible using digital technology. For example, each service journey can accommodate those who do not wish to use online interactions offering phone support as an alternative.
Parallel to this process we reviewed and amended the technology specifications being put together by the team at Irish Heart Foundation. The service blueprints, and specifications could then be used in conversations with technology vendors – putting a “best foot forward” in the search for the right platform. The service blueprints showed that ten vital pieces of technology functionality would be needed to support a scalable, patient-centric service into the future.
Our service design process made communication with potential vendors easier, the service requirements were clearly illustrated, informing in-depth discussion on technical specifications and helping the process of selecting a platform to deliver the digital transformation of these services.
We met with multiple vendors to evaluate available options, and provided guidance to Irish Heart Foundation to inform their choice of technology platform. We look forward to further progress, and the scaling of these services, making full use of the power of digital technology, and keeping the patient experience at the core.
“Working with Context Studio has been an invaluable experience. As we work towards digital transformation of our Patient Services division, their work has put us on track to scaling services that really work for patients.
Now, as we procure technology to support our services, Context Studio has been a key part of product evaluation ensuring key functions described in future state blueprints are clearly specified.
We will continue to work with Context Studio as we bring the systems online and ensure the best possible patient support experience for our service users.”
– Adrienne Egan, Information Technology Manager at Irish Heart Foundation